Spiritual Camping

As I stood from the rock, I imagined the waterfall to be the love and goodness of life or the goodness of God. After I partook of the beauty of the falls or the love of God I had to endure the many hazards along the path of life. This thought gave me courage to continue my hike on the path.

As one of several assistant scout leaders in my congregation, I had the privilege of taking one day out of the week to go to scout camp the week of June 11, 2012. I admit firstly that I am no camper. What I am is a liability and an insurance hazard.

The scout master all the scouts had to babysit me and make sure I did not injure some part of my anatomy the entire time I was out there at Coconino National Forest.

Source

Lessons From Capture The Flag


  • in order to gain a victory and achieve your goals, you have to be willing to take risks.
  • Making plans based on limited and sometimes incorrect information are necessary ingredients for success and failure.
  • that in order to succeed, failure must be accepted as a possible outcome.
  • that sacrifice is sometimes a necessary thing to reach the overall objective.

  • Just because a rule exists does not mean it will be followed.
  • It is okay to accept that others are better at things or worse at things without animosity--the way the scouts did.

Source

Capture The Flag

The night I arrived at camp we played capture the flag. I cannot really run any more, but it did not stop me from trying to do it--running into tree stumps and falling into holes.

I crawled on my hands and knees in the dark trying to avoid the more skilled and faster men and boys.

I was six feet away from the flag when a silhouette rushed towards me and tagged me out. A twelve-year-old took me out--cheating by the way.

The rules of the game were that guardians of the flag were to be at least 20 feet away from the flag unless it is being attacked. This boy, Colbie, posted up right next to the flag so that he did not have to chase anyone.

I learned from that kid that just because a rule exists does not mean it will be followed--something else that helps bring life into perspective. I made sure that I followed the rules, but I cannot speak for anyone else--just as in life.

A scout is honest and trustworthy still applies, though in that instance, that scout did not honor the rules of engagement in the game. Instead of judging the boy too harshly, I also reasoned that a person is not one good deed or one bad deed.

A person is the sum of them all together. With directions and standards we can keep ourselves well worked in good deeds and hope the bad ones do not receive the greater recognition.

Both teams won a go at capture the flag. The elation at winning helped me to see the real joy of it! Winning at capture the flag meant that we were more skillful than the other team at protecting our assets and pilfering theirs. We were superior in skill and craftiness.

We were still friends when it ended. Capture the flag with the scouts became life for me. I may compete in the market with others, but I can leave the market and be friends when it is time.

It is okay not to be the best. I do not have to be another Bill Gates. On the other hand, it is okay to be the best! It is okay to accept that others are better at things or worse at things without animosity--the way the scouts did.

Chasing Waterfalls

This is the Falls
This is the Falls

The next day after a rousing morning devotional, we scouts and leaders went to Fossil Creek Waterfall for a hike. This was the most interesting and horrific physical experience of my recent memory.

I was already tired by the time I reached the trail's entrance which led down to Hell it seemed to me. The fact that it leads down reminded me that I would have to climb back up the same way. I should have turned back then, but I did not.

My Triumph at Table Mountain

On Top of Table Mountain near Cape Town
On Top of Table Mountain near Cape Town

The last experience of similar exertion in my life occurred during my missionary service in South Africa when I and other missionaries hiked Table Mountain.

With my health condition, it was unwise for me to do it, but I went up the hiking trail to the waterfall. I should have turned back when I went up the access road to the trail off to the left and started having trouble, but I did not.

The trail, to a normal healthy man or boy was not daunting in the least. It was rocky with a few inclines and declines and dozens of stair climbing opportunities intermittently spaced. The boys and men in the troop plodded ahead on the trail relishing the idea of the waterfall and swimming that would be their reward for hiking.

I had a different experience. The trail, as I said, looked easy to my old healthy self, but not my new not so healthy self. I walked a short way and decided that I would turn around because the terrain started to take its toll on my body.

I was already tired by the time I reached the trail's entrance which led down to Hell it seemed to me. The fact that it leads down reminded me that I would have to climb back up the same way. I should have turned back then, but I did not.

I walked maybe one hundred yards when my body started to scream from lethargy. It was not pain that kept me from rushing, it was extreme exhaustion from a combination of medications and lack of physical fitness.

I rued the idea of continuing because I am prone to fainting and falling. I am also prone to getting sunburned on the face--yes, Black people do burn occasionally. As the thought entered my mind, one of the scouts came back for me when he noticed I was no longer with them.

I did not complain that all left me or indicate that I wanted anyone to remain with me. I planned that I would be left before I went to the trail. I did not realize how grateful I was to this young man until he took my hand and help me climb one of the many small boulders.

All sorts of thoughts went through my head. I was paranoid that we were breaking scouting rules because a leader and a scout are never to be alone because of the terrible things that others have done in the past to boys. I love following the rules!

I told the boy to go ahead with the other troops to avoid the appearance of evil because a leader and a scout are never to be alone but he would not leave my side. I settled with him walking a few paces ahead of me as I slowly stumbled along the trail.

This young man, Colbie, had injured his foot the night prior playing capture the flag as he related to me while walking. He said that he wanted to stay with me and make sure I made it okay. I thought one of the leaders might have indicated to him to babysit me to make sure i did not pass out along the way, but it was not so.

Colbie glanced back often to make sure I was not far behind. He was getting antsy about getting to the falls I could tell, but he would not leave.

Several times I entreated him to go, but he dismissed it. I am glad he did. He ended up carrying my pack and his as I walked more slowly and started to show visibly my physical limits approaching.

Loki

Source

My mind raced as I thought of how I would get back! Colbie made me feel really cared about. I could not believe it!

Colby is not the sentimental type. If I compared him to a Norse God he would be Loki, the mischief-maker. He is the one who picks the fights and keeps the pranks going in the troop!

He simply explained to me, "Brother Johnson, I know the way. I have been down the path before." Colby steered me away from the more unsteady rocks along the path and held my hand to lift me up the hard climbs.

When we came to the falls, he turned to me and became the Colby I had come to expect. He left his gear near me to take off up the mountain cliff to jump into the water below the falls. He made sure I could see the falls and participate before he went to enjoy the falls.

I quietly rested for a moment thinking about the love I felt for my little brother for helping me along the path that he knew, and went myself to enjoy the beauty of the falls.

For half of the hike back I suffered in silence. I did not want people to hear me crying in pain as I walked...

Source

As I stood from the rock, I imagined the waterfall to be the love and goodness of life or the goodness of God.

After I partook of the beauty of the falls or the love of God I had to endure the many hazards along the path of life. This thought gave me courage to continue my hike on the path.

After the Falls

I rested for hours as the boys and leaders played in the water. I enjoyed the view and laughter. I had planned to read while the others played. I was stolen by the fun in the eyes of the people climbing and plunging to the water.

I saw the day pass and decided to leave before the troop. I did not want them waiting on me. I did not want another scout leading me down the mountain because I knew the way. I left early and immediately regretted it.

As ashamed as I am of my behavior, I cried as I walked because of the pain. Not only was I exhausted, but I started to think seeing that waterfall was not worth the pain I felt getting back to the truck.

For half of the hike back I suffered in silence. I did not want people to hear me crying in pain as I walked--in case someone came during my trial. No one did come.

At some point I stopped caring if anyone heard me cry. I wanted someone to come. I missed Colbie who helped me get to the falls. He carried my pack so that I had an easier trip, but now I had to walk alone.

I wanted relief, but none came. I thought of all the people who hike the trail in bathing suits and smiles and felt jealous that my hike had to be so hard. "Why couldn't I just be healthy like the other people and have an easy walk along the path?" I shouted in my mind.

I cried, but very few tears fell as it all sweated out my body. I actually cried and wanted to give up! I sat down on a rock an thought how much like life was this hike .

I imagined how much Colby was like a parent in life or a missionary who helped me navigate in the beginning along the path. He could not make me enjoy the waterfall, but he could help me find it.

Just when I was about to give up, I came to the end.

Source

Pests are Trials

Each step hurt now. Each step I winced in pain and I thought of the Savior--how he suffered the pains of all men. I had to walk that path alone as he did. I made the hike a challenge. I think my decision helped me not falter later.

The more pain I experienced the more I likened the hike to life. I started to tremble in weariness and wish the trail shorter. I bargained with God. I still had to walk, even if someone came along, which only happened towards the end, I had to walk.

At one point, I thought I reached my limit. I kept thinking what an inconvenience I would be when they would find me on the path passed out. Each time I thought this a few flies would come and pester me. A surge of energy would erupted in me as I tried to avoid the flies and bees.

In Doctrine & Covenants 58:2-4 Jesus Christ states:

For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

For after much tribulation come the blessings....

Considering my plight on the trail these words of the Lord rang true in my heart. That hardship on the trail was a trial. Life is full of them--trails and trials!

Unlike the trail I was on, the trials of life have dire consequences if we give up on the journey and refuse endure it well. Some times trials are presented to us as the course of life. Other trials are the result of our own action or the action of others.

On my trail during scout camp, the pest were not my doing. They were placed before me.

Source

I thought of those pests as little trials in life that really do not hurt us, but test our patience. We need them sometimes to push us along the path of life--like Alma leading his group and being captured by Ammulon in the Book of Mormon, I was chasten with trials or flies, which helped me walk on.

Just when I was about to give up, I came to the end. I heard some of my troop behind me. As I climbed to the top of the path I almost burst into tears. I had done it!

Heaven is at the End

My troop members passed me commenting to me. They made no mention of the hike. I wanted them to praise me, but they would never know how hard this hike was for me. I could not even articulate it at the time. I felt so proud that I had completed the path. I was so grateful to God!

Then came the long smooth and straight march to the truck. I started to feel like it was taking too long to end.

Source

I started questioning when will it be over. Then the scripture came to my mind to press forward! It reads

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. 2 Nephi 31:20

I could do it. All I had to do was endure to the end at that point! There were no more hills or boulders--just a clear dirt road to the truck! I had to bow down before I entered the parking lot to pass under the road block gates. It was as if I was bowing to Jesus as my last act in life.

The Scout Master, Michael P., greeted me at the truck to invite me into the air conditioning. He asked me how was my hike. I told him it was hell, but getting into his truck was like going into the Celestial kingdom.

He said to me, "Come in and receive of the air conditioning." I walked into the temporary feeling of heavenly rest and enjoyed the sounds of Weezer on the radio all the way back to camp.

Source

What about You?

Has participating in an organization like Scout caused you to reflect on life to appreciate it more?

  • Yes, I have participated in organizations that caused me to reflect on my life.
  • No, organizations like Scouts never helped me to think about my life in general.
  • I never participated in organization like Scouts, but I have had experiences to help me appreciate life.
  • I have not had an experience with organizations like Scouts and have never really reflect on my life.
See results without voting

© 2012 Rodric Johnson

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Comments 8 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

What an entertaining Hub! Up and funny!


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks WillStarr for reading this hub and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed it.


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

As a scout leader and teacher of handicapped children for several years, this hub meant a lot to me. I too suffered in my duties as the scout leader, yet I was able to hide this for the most part from my boys. We camped out numerous times and enjoyed the ups and downs of scout life together. I would take nothing for the experience. What I thought earlier on in my being a white teacher and scout leader of mostly black kids, made no difference and what I received, was what I perceived to be much greater than I was able to give the kids. Thank you for this work and I truly see the Lord's work in progress in your account.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you so much for reading and commenting Whonunuwho. I cherish that Hike, and I will do it again! I enjoyed the youth, who were less uptight at camp. Being the only Black leader there was no issue for me, especially since we all know each other, go to church together and are neighbors.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

A wonderful Hub that says so much about life and how we approach life. I really appreciated all the parallels you drew between your experiences and everyday life. Your honesty was touching and encouraging. Sharing.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

I appreciate your comment Phdast7. Thank you for reading and sharing.


Bryce J11 profile image

Bryce J11 22 months ago

I love it I actually just made an article about scouting

http://hubpages.com/sports/Fishing-101


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks Bryce. I am going to read your article right now.

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